Here at HDH & Associates, LLC, we are starting this blog on “Citizen Leadership.” This is where we want to engage in thoughtful conversation about what it means to be a citizen—at home, at work, in private, in public—and what it takes to lead citizens. It is our fundamental belief that thinking about citizenship is central to what makes individuals and entities responsible, and each of our personal reflections on the idea of citizenship is the prerequisite for being agile and strategic.
Our belief is that this phenomenological sense of “being a citizen” and “citizenship” are not just legal constructs and a passive characterization of someone’s or some entity’s existence, but rather revolve around norms of social cohesion. Said more simply, but clumsily, citizenship is about how we as social beings invest in social bonds to make society work.
From a negative standpoint, this shared sense is why we decry
- Enron’s executives cheating
- Military prison abuses at Abu Ghraib
- Political gridlock in Washington, DC (the shutdown and impending debate on the debt limit is on the forefront of our attention)
- Our neighbors who show no consideration to others
- Our careerist workmates only in it for themselves.
From a positive standpoint, this shared sense is why we celebrate
- Corporate giving
- Military service
- Political leaders who got us through the toughest times
- Our neighbors who pick up our mail and watch our houses while we’re gone
- Our workmates who are teammates.
In this blog, we’re going to start this conversation on citizenship because it seems we, as a society, may have either lost a shared sense of or have lost agreement on the importance of citizenship. And it’s important we talk about this because it’s this sense that allows us to work together for shared purposes, whether they be to address a social ail for a non-profit, provide services to constituents for a government office, or provide a valuable product or service that someone will pay money for to a private sector entity.
We promise to bring in interesting research and the occasional controversial thought. We promise to keep this approachable. Most important, we promise to make this useful to you, those with whom you interact, and your organization.